Fat girl fear debunked: my right to bare arms.

My mom is a photographer, which means that several times a year, whether we want it or not, we’re subject to family photo shoots. Most of the times I’m grateful for beautiful, professional portraits at no cost — I mean, who wouldn’t be, right? Good photography is expensive (but well worth the cost. Don’t get me started on that — pay for a professional for your wedding, your maternity and infant portraits, and your professional headshot. It’s SO WORTH IT! Memories last forever, and so does a crappy underexposed selfie of yourself on LinkedIn).

Beautiful Photography by Lynnette Joy. 3/4 sleeves for the win!

Beautiful Photography by Lynnette Joy. 3/4 sleeves for the win!

She’s taught me and my sister how to pose to slim our bodies, but there’s one body hangup that I KNOW drives my mom crazy. My fear of my arms! Why does it drive my mom crazy? Because if I’m sleeveless in a photo, I ask her to photoshop my arms to be smaller. Ridiculous, right?! She probably wanted to kill me as she designed my wedding album because I asked her to photoshop my arms in like, every picture. And that was 30 pounds lighter than I am now. Hahahah. Vain and horrendous, but at least I’m being honest! I carry most of my weight through my abdomen, ass and arms (AAA!). My arms, no matter how much weight I’ve lost in the past, still remain pendulous and large, reminding me of bat wings. I need to get over it.

Behold, my unphotoshopped arms on my wedding day!

Behold, my unphotoshopped arms on my wedding day, now on the interwebz for the world to see!

My mother lovingly slimmed down my arm in this photo!!!

My mother lovingly slimmed down my arm in this photo!!! Can you tell?

My self-consciousness about my arms means I own more cardigans than anybody on the planet. Gray, black, white, turquoise… I’m a cardigan fiend. It means that I wear these cardigans even when it’s 103 degrees out, like it was today. But today, I did something pretty brave. I left the cardigan in the car when I got back from my lunch break. And surprise, nobody said anything about my arms, and I was a lot less hot than I would have been in my cardigan. Stupid insecurity? Yep.

My husband notices my weirdness about my arms, too. In Mexico, I had put on this  adorable, polka dot tank top with a little bolero, a fancy little short sleeved jacket to COVER YOUR ARMS. He asked why I put it on and I sheepishly had to admit I was self conscious about my arms. And that was in front of my HUSBAND — the man who’s seen the worst of me probably a heck of a lot more than he’s seen the best. We’ve been together almost 11 years and I’m pretty sure he knows me better than I know myself. A little pep talk from my hubs and the bolero came off, and once again, nobody said anything and my arms lived to see the light of the day.

My husband helped me get over my arms in Mexico. Cute tank top, eh?

My husband helped me get over my arms in Mexico. Cute tank top, eh?

Despite all these arm-fearing situations, I have come a long way in accepting my arms because three years ago, I would have never stepped foot in the gym in a tank top. It would have to be sleeves all the way, because god forbid somebody see my big fat upper arms. Ridiculous! It’s only when we take a step back sometimes out of our own insecurities that we see how stupid and miniscule they really are. Letting my insecurity of my arms affect my physical comfort is stupid. My arms may be big, but like the rest of me, they’re a work in progress, and quite frankly, I highly doubt many people have looked at my arms and been like “LAWD! She should NOT be wearing that tank top!” And if they do… well, who gives a fart? (You thought I was gonna drop an F bomb, didn’t you?! I didn’t!)

I have a right to bare arms. I have a right to show off my arms no matter what state they might be in. I have a right to say yes to tank tops, tube tops, strapless dresses, deodorant, arm tattoos….you name it. Arms are arms are arms. So this is my new mantra… I have a right to bare arms.

Who’s with me? What ridiculous body insecurity do you have? Let’s get it out in the open today and I’ll comment back with my thoughts… this is a safe place! Get it out in the open. When we address our inner demons, they become a lot less scary! Take the power back and tell me, what’s a stupid body insecurity you have? Why?

46 thoughts on “Fat girl fear debunked: my right to bare arms.

  1. Oh gawd (I preface this with the fact that I’m aware I’m crazy)…when I put on a bathing suit, I feel like I’ve suddenly gained fifty pounds in my stomach. I have a little pooch (like most of America) and I actually (FOR REALSIES) refused to take off my beach cover-up at the river with Matt and co. until everyone was gone except the two of us the day I wore a bikini. Some other guy brought his super tiny actress girlfriend and I was like, “hell-to-tha-no.” And it made me really sad that I would rather hide in the corner in brutal heat than risk being compared to her in a bathing suit. Last year I was called out on being the largest of the girls on the trip (in a joking, but insensitive way) and I still feel bad–which is stupid, but my poor formerly ED-addled mind won’t let me deal with it like a normal human.
    So, uh, me and my lower stomach are NOT friends. Yup. I’m crazy.

    • Ok, first of all, tell me who said you were the largest girl because I’m going to go sit on them and smother them with my big fat butt. That is AWFUL. I can’t even get over people’s tactlessness… But yes, you are crazy, because you have a beautiful, delicate, lovely sprite-like body (Sprite like fairy, not gross soft drink). I love you the way you areeeee!

      • I love you tooooo, pinguino!! And I kinda want to go as a can of sprite for Halloween next year. lol. If I were king of the universe, I’d banish all body issues among everyone. And we’d all run around happy in our own skins (but definitely not each other’s skins cause that’s kind of creepy. No human leather for me, thankyouverymuch.)

    • i am a lover of girls who are hot, sexy, thick and curvy. you alyssa are not fat, you are thick and curvy which is so hot. people who say that you are absolutely wrong and dumb and have got their facts wrong. your thick and sexy arms are so beautiful and it adds to your beauty along with the rest of your super thick body and curvy feature. skinny girls are shit!!! and fat girls are ugly but you are curvy and thick and so hot.your thick nature is your gift that not many has which is sublime.understand this!!! you are sexy voluptuous girl with great body ;), arms, and face.my GF is also just like you , and shes a thick and sexy latina, and we love each other so much and your husband is as lucky as me in this case.
      cheers and adios mi compadre.

  2. Ermagerd, I can relate to this SO MUCH. I honestly do not remember ever wearing a tank top in public until my mid-20s. I just had such a complex about it, even when I was 140 pounds, I was convinced that my arms were huge and hideous and flabby and blah blah.

    Know what helped me get over it? GETTING TATTOOED. I have two awesome tattoos on my right arm now, and I love showing them off. Eff my arm flab, CHECK OUT MY SWEET INK.

    Now if I could just get that kind of confidence about my thighs…

    • Dude, this is awesome! You’re so right!!!!!! What are the tatts? I wanna see! And as for the thighs, I totally get it… but I think we need to look at it the same as the arms. If they show, and they’re flabby, well, it is what it is. It sucks, but by hiding them, it won’t go away, you know?! Thank you for your awesome and thoughtful comments always! <3

  3. I remember a friend asked me (POST weight loss) how could I get up the courage to wear tanktops – because I had stretch marks on my arms!

    I just looked at her in disbelief. I was like “I worked hard to lose this weight, I spent TOO long covering up when I didn’t even have to, I am certainly not going to be shameful NOW”

    We deserve to be comfortable in hot weather, no matter what we look like!

    • Ok, your friend deserved a big old smack in the face for that one. SOOO many people have stretch marks… including my perfectly normal, never been overweight in his life husband. I have a ton of them. Now I just call them my tiger stripes. But I agree with you.. we deserve to be comfortable in hot weather, no matter what! Thank you for commenting!

  4. I’m with you on the arms – they will always be the part I dislike the most. What helped me get to a point of acceptance with them is working out. When you are doing a class it’s so hot I just don’t care what anyone thinks – comfort is a priority.

  5. Wow cousin, we are so alike with the battle of the arms!!!! My cardigan load has overpowered my dresser drawers as well as my closets just so I can cover them! I’m starting to become daring again, but it’s hard because I can’t stand the flab-ulous of what my arms have become!

  6. Oh my gosh….I never wear anything sleeveless!!
    I am sooooo hung up on how I look in clothes and
    what flab shows where…..oh to have your positive

  7. Funny thing about this. 🙂 I’m jealous of your arms. The skin looks smooth and clear. I wear cardigans in 100 degree heat every single day of the summer, or long sleeves, because I have really, really bad KP on my arms, and it got exponentially worse after pregnancy – like, out of control – and I can’t get it to go away. So you see…what? Fat? when you look at your arms? And I see smooth, beautiful skin. And I am envious. 🙂

  8. I really dislike my belly! It’s never been flat or toned and I’m sure it never will be. It’s my “bread loaf”. Growing up my mom would point out how the rest of me was thin except my popping out belly. In high school when other girls were comfortable with baring their flat tummies I tugged my shirts down. I just wish my stomach wasn’t so gooey and squishy! I like wearing billowy tops that don’t hug my bread loaf.

    I’m happy with my arms, legs, back and chest though–especially with my recent bit of weight loss! My thighs have shrunk down and I love it!

    Also, that pic of you in Mexico is super cute!

  9. Omg, I could have written this post. I am HORRIBLY self conscious about my arms. I live in Arkansas, where the temp gets to “surface of the sun” levels, and there I am, rocking cardigans. Wearing a tank top in public is actually one of my long term goals for when I drop the weight. It’s very nice to know I’m not alone in this!

    • You’re not alone at all. Try wearing a tank for a quick grocery store run to get used to it. Let’s do this! Thanks for commenting!

  10. I lost weight (back in 2006) and I remember my husband complimenting my triceps. Now as the weight has crept back on, I’ve been so self-conscious about my arms. I mean I have plenty of belly pooch too, but even when I was at goal weight, I think I still had that (I can’t quite remember, I’ll have to get there again and really pay attention!) But I remember that compliment … and I’m going to work my hardest to earn it again!

    • Good for you – triceps are so hard to sculpt as women! I’m sure you can get back there and I’m sure you’re lovely just the way you are!

  11. Alyssa: I totally support your right, not only to “bare arms,” but also, to bare it all! This year, at 52, I decided I would lead a shame-free life, as far as my body is concerned, from now on. Worried about how your arms look? Some people have no arms. Hate your fat thighs? Some folks never had that option, as they were born without legs. Such perspective gives one pause, doesn’t it?

    After having had a life-threatening illness, I began to develop a shame-free attitude about my body image, for two reasons: One is, I am an athlete, and I LOVE the look and feel of my active body and all its component parts. I climb up and down the hills of Petaluma every day and lift weights to keep myself toned and solid. Yeah–I got some parts that are softer than others–but I realized in the end that NO ONE is looking at us anyhow!

    Yes–That’s right! The more I focused on my body, the more I realized this was an egotistical endeavor which was self-defeating, because nobody gave a care, but ME! So–I appreciate your perspective and as you age, you will likely become even more willing to bare it all. By the time you’re fifty, you will likely fully-embrace all your head-to-toe beauty that your parents and the goddess have obviously graced you with, including your lovely, hard-working, bare-able arms. Good work!

    • You are AWESOME!!!! I asked my mom about you and she only had amazing things to say! Would love to meet you one day.. thank you for reading and for your wise comments!

  12. I have an arm thing too!!! but… I have been working on getting over that for a few years now and, I’m not suggesting you do this but, I got a huge tattoo done on my left arm so that I purposely would appreciate it more than loathe it. That has helped a bit. Being strong and still having bingo arms feels more acceptable and hey, I’m almost 45, so I’m totally going to start using my age as an excuse!

    I have a terrible insecurity about my legs though. I suppose that’s next on the list. I won’t wear shorts unless I’m somewhere on holiday where not one single soul knows me. I won’t wear shorts to run in. I won’t go without tights or pantyhose or leggings. for some reason I just feel like I have elephant legs. NONSENSE of course. Occasionally I am surprised and delighted by the strength of my legs but if I try to go out bare in public I forget all about this good feeling and only feel ashamed. It’s madness and we ALL need to get over it.

    • Pinky pie.. I am surprised because your arms and legs are LOVELY! It is amazing reading all of these comments from like-minded women, and also sad, because we are all awesome, especially you! xo

  13. I love this post and I love your gorgeous wedding photos 🙂 You should be proud to have your arms out in public, but I do know how you feel, my arm used to be pretty toned, then I broke my shoulder back in 2001 and stopped doing arm exercises, now I have limited upper body strength, and super ‘bingo wings’ I recently bought some strappy dresses to wear in Maui, as I knew I wouldnt know anyone there!! But since coming home I wear tank tops out most days and have slowly got over the fear – now bathing suits – thats another story

    • YES. Bathing suits… ugh. So hard. I still have that thing where I get out of the pool and do this weird bowlegged walk so people don’t see my thighs, as if it hides something!!! Sheesh! Thanks for commenting! <3

  14. Susan – what a fantastic way of thinking! I was going to babble on about my body issues, but after reading that, I just can’t – I like this way of thinking much more!

  15. I have a slight arm issue as well. This post is very timely. I just joined a gym this week and would love to wear a tank top of some sort. Just not there yet though … hopefully soon! 🙂

  16. Oh my god! I own 24 cardigans! I didn’t even know until I saw this post and remembered that I did have a lot of them. Oh the shame. =(

    I’d get really long ones too, the ones that open up and I can wrap them around my body to hide my tummy if I quickly needed it due to paranoia, and it hides my bubblebutt too. *sigh* It’s more of my tummy for me.

    But you’re right. Who cares!? And if they do, you’re totally right. So what??? Love your post. New follower 🙂

    • I am guilty of the giant cardigans too Sam… I love those.. They’re so comfy, and you’re right, hide the tummy and bubble butt! One day we’ll get over it! Thank you so much for stopping by, I’ll check out your blog!

  17. Since losing 177lbs, my body hang up is my loose skin. I have it on my arms, tummy, and thighs. Up until this year I was all about hiding it. This summer though I am rocking a bikini and even shorts that ago above my knees. I figure I worked my ass off for this body and sure it has it’s ‘flaws’ but it looks MUCH better than it did at 327lbs! If someone doesn’t like looking at it, they’re clearly the ones with the issues!

    Rock those arms girl!

  18. I think more than body insecurity I have photo insecurity when I know people who are notoriously bad with their camera phones and manage to capture the most grotesque forms of everyone and post online. I can definitely improve with my body but I get irate when people supposedly in social media plaster the most unflattering images of folks online over and over again.

  19. I’m so glad I found this post. I have the same insecurity. On vacation, at home, in hot and humid weather I would wear long sleeve shirts. You could cook an egg on a side walk and I would still wear long sleeve shirts! I let other people’s comments from school deter me away from being comfortable in my own skin. It took me a long time, but I’m finally starting to let my arms breath! It’s nice to know I’m not alone and crazy for feeling this way.

  20. I had my arms lipoed and it was the best thing I have ever done!

    I had starved myself for almost 11 months before deciding to do it. I was at 17% body fat and realized that enough was enough.

    Life is way too short to go around feeling horrible about yourself. I know that I used to be so self conscious wearing sleeveless and backless–thinking about my fat arms, and fat shoulder blades.

    Today I am a healthy 19% body fat. I feel free to wear normal clothes to cross fit and dont look weird wearing shorty shorts anymore–I used to wear them with huge sack shirts, instead of mid drift tanks.

    I realized after having my arms done that I settled for a loser public servant of a husband–I got rid of that loser and got me a real man–a litigator. I had settled for my broke first husband because I didn’t think I was worth more because of my fat arms. Today I know what I am worth–my husband better buy me Balenciaga bags, Jimmy Choos, and lease me a new Porsche every year–or I am out the door!

    Let the fat girls settle I get mine.

  21. I’m sitting at work, in a tank top a white “bride to be “ (I got engaged not too long ago and we get married 10/02/20 tank top that I think is the cutest. But I’m a very large girl so I’m trying to just enjoy not being super hot but I’m so self conscious. This helped me feel so much better. Thankyou!

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